Accel Partners raises $550 million India Fund

Accel Partners raises $550 million India Fund

US-based venture capital  firm Accel Partners has raised $550 million for its sixth India fund as it seeks to ramp up its investments in the country’s booming startup ecosystem.

The latest fundraise topped the $450 million Accel raised for its fifth India fund in late 2016. Accel Partners India currently has assets under management of about $1.6 billion. Some of its top portfolio companies include Swiggy, Freshworks, and BlackBuck.

“With a robust digital infrastructure firmly in place and expanding rapidly, we expect digital adoption in India to only accelerate. We see this trend playing out not only in categories like food delivery, digital payments, and e-commerce, but also sectors like agritech, education, insurance, logistics, healthcare, real estate and manufacturing,” Accel said.

One of India’s oldest VC firms, Accel is also among the most successful. It netted more than $1 billion from the $16 billion takeover of Flipkart by Walmart last year.  Accel started in India in 2008 by buying Erasmic Venture Fund. Erasmic’s founders Subrata Mitra, Prashanth Prakash and Mahendran Balachandran joined Accel as partners. In the past decade, Accel has expanded its team and now has nine partners and employs 51 people.

“Globally, there are very few investors who have consistently invested only at the seed-stage for this long and at our scale. We are a specialist seed-stage investor, and that is our clear strength. With the sixth fund, too, we will primarily invest in seed-stage startups,” Prakash said in an interview.

In India too, most internet startups are yet to make profits, which is reflected in the dearth of IPOs. Despite that, many VC firms have secured exits through secondary share transactions. “Overall, LPs’ perspective on India is that they would like to see consistent IPOs from startups here,” said Shekhar Kirani, a partner at Accel India. Accel has invested in five large categories in the past decade: consumer internet, software, business-to-business, healthcare and financial technology. It will continue to invest in these spaces and more, said Anand Daniel, a partner at Accel India.

“If you look at the numbers of transacting users, it shows that the consumer market is huge and a large part of it is under-served. The business models to serve the market aren’t obvious but we’re coming across many entrepreneurs who are striving to find the right models. And we’re seeing that the newer generation of firms are scaling much faster compared with the firms that came before. So, the consumer market is still at a very early stage,” Daniel said.


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